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Hospices would have to meet standards for assessing patients at admission and tracking improvement or deterioration in patients’ health as a condition of Medicare participation, under a CMS proposal to be published in Friday’s Federal Register.

The new standards would be the first changes to Medicare’s conditions of participation for hospices since the rules were created in 1983.

The CMS proposal would replace a current quality-assurance requirement; drop a requirement that hospices staff a registered nurse at an inpatient facility 24 hours a day; and provide guidance to hospices on caring for nursing home residents.

The agency will accept comments on the proposal through July 27.

[Joseph Mantone,; N Valko RN; R. Panzer]